For many Africans and blacks around the world who do not adhere to the idea of this Western tradition, here are five African festivals very similar to Halloween that can be a better and meaningful substitute for celebrating.
Festival Egungun - Nigeria
- The festival Egungun is an annual celebration among the groups yoruba mainly in southwestern Nigeria.
- The festival Egungun starts each year in November and ends in April, before the annual rains.
- The festival is a celebration of the life of important personalities of society who died during the year.
- Egungun : is a word yoruba which refers to maskers who invade the street during the festival, dancing on an air of expert drummers.
It is believed that maskers are chosen by the gods, who give them special powers to communicate with the dead and please the ancestors. This means that no one can get dressed in masquerade and indulge in traditional dance during the festival Egungun.
The party is marked to give the assurance to the dead they will remember them and that they always have a place in the land of the living. The festival can be a sight to behold as the Egungun are dressed in elaborate and colorful masks and costumes and dance to drums and traditional songs yoruba. "The parade is led by the high priest who invokes the spirits. »
Fancy dress festival - Ghana
- The festival Junkanoo is native to Ghana, West Africa, especially among the peoples Ahanta, Fanti et Akan who call it the festival of disguises. In Ghana, the disguise festival is celebrated every year during the Christmas and New Year season.
- A festival that is also found in the Bahamas which traditionally is organized for Christmas and New Year, the Bahamas Junkanoo Festival is today one of the most anticipated events of the spring.
- Faced with the general craze, the Ministry of Tourism has decided to introduce it during the months of May and June.
- For the occasion, troops that can reach the 1000 people gather around great numbers. Musicians, dancers and other artists walk the streets of downtown Nassau early in the morning, forming a breathtaking musical and dance parade.
The festival has been compared to Halloween lately because of the similarity of its fancy outfits and costumes, but many cultural elements do not make it as Halloween-like as expected. Started in 1709, the festival was organized in honor of John kenu (known to Germans and Dutch as John dogs and British under the name of John Conny) for defeating the Dutch who had taken control of the country ofAhanta and sold his people into slavery.
In this festival, the maskers are harmless and never attack, but cause laughter and celebrations among the local population. Their hideous masks were designed to represent whites who mocked the black race during long time. The festival has also found its place in the Bahamas and parts of Jamaica in the same way and is marked without the tradition of disturbing Westerners. In the Bahamas it is known as the Junkanoo Festival, an adulterer named John kenu.
Wag / Paper Boat Festival- Egypt
- The festival Wag is a very old festival that dates back to the time of the pyramids and pharaohs. Celebrated in honor of the death of Osiris, this is one of the oldest festivals celebrated in Egypt and in Africa.
- In recent times, the festival is also celebrated as an honor for the souls of the dead, allowing them to get off to a good start and start a new journey to the afterlife. They are thought to be in good company because they are led by Osiris.
- The festival, also known as the Day of the Dead, is celebrated during the name of the flood season, which usually falls between June and September, when the rivers were flooded by the Nile. More recently, the festival was scheduled for the 18 or the August 19 through research and understanding of the ancient Egyptian calendar.
During the feast of wags, people make paper boats that are placed west of the Nile and indicate the death of Osiris. In addition to setting up paper boats, there is plenty of wine to drink and eat.
- Le famadihana is a tradition that some translate as simply exhumation, but it has nothing to do with it.
- Travelers could perhaps make a connection with the Ma'nene, a ritual practiced on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, consisting in exhuming, cleaning and dressing the dead.
- Le famadihana is a different tradition, a unique tradition in the world. What is its origin ? What is it? What is the goal ? Answers.
The entrance to the family tomb, the entrance to heaven
During the quest for unification of the kingdoms of Madagascar by Andrianampoinimerina (1745-1810), a lot of soldiers Merina have died at the front. For the king, it is a sad lot to be buried far from home. He then proposed that his people build family tombs, then ordered the repatriation of the bodies so that the deceased could join his family. This end is essential, because according to the belief, it is like entering heaven.
- Le famadihana has really become a tradition towards 1814, during the reign of the son ofAndrianampoinimerina, Radama Ier (1793-1828). So it started in Imerina, then the ethnic groups belonging to the unified kingdom have also adopted it. The rite is organized every 3, 5 or 7 years and the date is designated by the mpanandro of the organizing family, the diviner, Shaman and traditional doctor. It always happens during the dry season (between June and September).
- Part of the Christian population, however, has abandoned this tradition, because of the divination and prayers addressed to the ancestors. This component of Malagasy culture and identity should however be preserved in one way or another, even if it means making some changes and upsetting beliefs.
Odo Festival - Nigeria
- In Africa, it is generally believed that the dead have the power to be reborn and that they are neither gone nor forgotten, but remain with the living in a less physical form.
- The festival of Igbo à Odo in Nigeria illustrates these traditional African beliefs.
- JN Ndukaku Amankulor, who teaches at the University of Nigeria, has written extensively on a Nigerian festival featuring the mass return of the dead.
- Among igbo from the North, this unique masked festival is held every two years. Similar to most African cultures, igbo believe that "The dead are neither gone nor forgotten" and that they help the living by protecting them from evil spirits and by planning for the future.
- The dead have the power to be reborn and play an important role in the daily survival of the tribe:
- The dead are reincarnated in their families, where they continue life a second time.
- In the Cyclical World Vision shared by the igbothe living become the dead and the dead become those who are not yet born.
Odo is a term used to describe the returning dead who spend up to six months with the living during the festival. They appear in the form of masked male and female characters played by men who are members of the death cult society and whose identities must be kept secret. - Odo are first greeted with celebrations and then go to their old homes, which translates into more entertainment and gifts. Their departure is sad and engages the community in an emotional leave event before the return ofOdo.
This long celebration is a celebration that requires many preparations and sacrifices for the community. Women are heavily involved in food preparation and performances as members of the choir and audiences. The creation of costumes and masks made of plant fibers, leaves, pearls and feathers, as well as the development of music groups and plays are all performed in a sacred area outside the central village. , where the interpretersOdo resident and help train new insiders. The cult. Members of tribal families in distant communities will reconnect with their roots by spending long periods with their families while enjoying the dramatic representations of the characters ofOdo.
The transformation of the dead into the characters ofOdo involves guttural words and great movements. The masks are often huge, like a bamboo crocodile mask and a garment worn by several people, the mask Ijele which dominates the crowd and is only used every seven years, and the mask Onyekulufa, entirely made of grass. The characters are easily identifiable by their archetypes.
As in the world of the living, the dead are organized into a hierarchy with six categories: the elderly, odo entitled, odo young, odo male, odo female (young and old types), odo child / infant odo spirit and animal odo. Elderly and titled odo reflect old age, honor, respect and wealth, and use canes, fans and beads to show their status. One of these characters, Okikpe, is an ancestor who rises to eleven meters and scrolls in the circle of performance under the applause and elephant horn fragments blown by the titled men of the village. He inspects the auditorium and sits on a throne from where he will preside over the events.